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First Course

BARTOLOTTA
The Fat Greek: Best Greek Food in Las Vegas

The Fat Greek
4001 S Decatur #34
Las Vegas, NV 89103
(702) 222-0666
www.fatgreeklv.com

It can be hard finding good Greek food anywhere, or at least good Greek food that isn't the same as every other Greek restaurant across the country.

Greek restaurants have the habit of tending towards the generic, but The Fat Greek definitely stands out as the best Greek restaurant in Las Vegas.

D.O.B. 111
d.o.b 111 Is Not d.o.a. By Any Stretch

d.o.b. 111
33 E. Eighth St.
New York, NY 10003
Price: Affordable to moderate

Yes, chef Michael Huynh has opened yet another restaurant. Yes, that could be the kiss of death for authenticity and quality. No, d.o.b 111 does not fall into this category, thankfully. Chef Huynh delivers French Vietnamese fusion done with artistry and expertise. With a menu full of better-than-the-next choices and a reasonable $29 prix fixe dinner, Huynh proves this isn’t his first trip ‘round the ‘ol restaurant block.

ALCOHOL
Hane: Softening My Tempura Heart

Last night, a friend and I were walking down 1st Avenue, being chased after by that nagging, intangible hunger that so often frequents the body when the city devilishly fishpoles its many inviting aromas out into the air. We weren't sure of what we were craving, but coming off a full day of midterms, we knew it had to be something good, something impressive and something soon. It wasn't until we happened upon an impressive Japanese marble palace taking up the corner of 20th and 1st that we realized our cravings could only be satisfied by two little S-letter lovelies: sushi and sake.

ARDESIA WINE BAR
Cheers to Summer!

Tucked away in Hell's Kitchen lies Ardesia, a comfortably modern and chic wine bar. On March 22, Ardesia welcomed Dreyfus Ashby & Co., a well known wine importer, into its space to serve up a tasting of their top picks for summer wines from around the world. Small tables dotted the periphery of the bar, displaying various bottles of wine, spanning regions, grape varieties and price ranges. My taste buds were alert and ready for the global tour.

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT
Miami Meets Brooklyn at Pilar Cuban Eatery

Named after Ernest Hemingway's boat, which coincidently he purchased in Brooklyn, Pilar Cuban Eatery was inspired by the icon of both the people of Miami and Cuba. Serving the neighborhood of Fort Greene/Bedfort-Stuyvesant Miami-style Cuban food, Pilar Cuban Eatery prepares all its dishes according to tradition, but with a modern approach.

Originally suppose to be a soup shop, the stews and soups at Pilar Cuban Eatery should not be overlooked. Chunky white beans, smoked ham, chorizo, collard greens, and potatoes make up the caldo gallego stew ($5). The tamal en cazuela ($5.50) has a creamy corn base mixed with strips of roast pork.

ANN GUINN
Two Men & Sandwich Shop

Less than a decade ago, Ashley Morris and Jason Smylie were simply sandwich afficionados. But not just any sandwiches, mind you. They only had eyes for one joint, Capriotti's Sandwich Shop.

While attending UNLV, Smylie ventured into the original Las Vegas Capriotti's near the corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd. where he tried the Bobbie, the chain's signature sub.

"He came back and told me, ‘I've just had the greatest sandwich in the world,'" says Morris. "He just kept talking about it, and I finally had enough and decided to try it. I had the cheesesteak, and, by no surprise, it was the greatest sandwich I'd ever eaten."

ANTOINETTE BRUNO
Ana Spices Up The Competition

It is either talk of the spices, the unique menu, or the garden oasis out back that first draws you into Oleana, but nothing quite prepares you for the experience. This is food that you probably have never tasted before with carefully woven layers of flavors and spices.

If Oleana's food were to be given as a quick-fire challenge and chefs were asked to taste and describe what is in just one dish, I'm not sure even the most trained palate would be successful. Although the spices keep their flavors and don't melt into one another, the layer upon layer of tastes are perfectly complementary and seemingly endless. Chef Ana Sortun is celebrated not only for her amazing talent in the kitchen but for the flawless, complex use of spices. Oleana offers a true family farm-to-table dinner nightly to be enjoyed indoors in a warm, happy environment with intriguing smells wafting from the kitchen or outdoors in the garden where you feel transported outside the city. For breakfast or lunch, head over to Oleana's "little sister" Sofra Bakery and Café. For a taste of Ana Sortun in a completely different environment, tune in to Season 2 of Top Chef Masters. Here is what Chef Sortun had to say about her experience.

BRUCE MARDER
A Night at House Cafe

Last night, I got together with some of my favorite friends and Dining Partners to give House Café a try. DP's are better to visit a restaurant with than significant others because they only have one goal in mind for dinner: to share the most amazing meal possible. If you happen to have a significant other who supports this philosophy, you must marry him/her. You must.

Anyway, back to the culinary journey at hand. Café House's is owned by Capo's Bruce Marder, so it already carries some serious street cred. And after fifteen minutes of jabbering with my fellow DP's I was about to find out why. We finally focused our palate to: Halibut crudo (special), steak tartare (special), the local mozzarella/bufala ricotta/Malibu olive oil dish, and the grilled artichoke.

The crudo and the mozzarella came out first. Though the flavors of the crudo were complimentary (they served it with a side of crushed red peppers, parsley, and fresh jalapenos!), the fish itself was a little "ripe." It was borderline fishy/smoky but not to the point of offensiveness. It was subtle enough that we didn't feel the need to polish it off, but not bad enough for us to call attention to it. The wait staff noticed though, apologized, and removed it from our bill. Why can't everything in life be this easy? Forward and onward!

The mozzarella/ricotta/olive oil was impeccable - light, smooth, creamy, with the perfect texture. It just tasted so fresh and so clean! I'm a huge fan of all cheese and this was one of the best cheese dishes I've ever had. Next up was the steak tartare. It is served in a little cylinder shaped mound, with a paper bag of fries and a side of mayonnaise. Although I always welcome unexpected fries on my plate, I actually think the steak tartare would have been better served with fresh baked bread and maybe some herb and garlic butter. The flavor of the tartare was fine, but I've definitely had fresher and tastier. The grilled artichoke was a bit of a disappointment for me - it was way too oily and not meaty enough at all.

BROOKLYN
Don't 'Passover' These Menus

Monday will mark the start of the springtime holidays-Passover and Easter. For those who have been blessed-or cursed-with a large family, your holiday celebration will probably consist of everyone gathering at the house of the relative with the most space. If you have little or no family, or just want to escape your oversized and overwhelming family, there are plenty of restaurant staff who are willing to spend the holidays with you.

The Upper West Side restaurant Telepan will be offering a 4-course prix fixe menu for $65 per person on March 29th and 30th, for the first two nights of Passover. On the other side of the religion spectrum, on April 4th, Saul, a contemporary American restaurant in Boreum Hill, Brooklyn, will be serving an Easter prix fixe menu for $50 per person.

ADAM BLOCK
Print: Farm-Fresh Eats Amongst Modern Chic

Price: Moderate
Cuisine: American

Print, a recently-opened gem in Hell's Kitchen, has quickly become a recommendable favorite amongst New Yorkers looking for simple, authentic and pure American cuisine. Envisioned by Adam Block, longtime restaurant designer and sole operator of this venture, Print skips the overly-exaggerated, high-brow bravado that most restaurants seek to lure the masses, and instead opts for simplicity: casual décor, farm-to-table food, and sophisticated taste.